Bank manager makes good use of volunteering leave days

Ms Celes Kweng planned themed days twice a year to build spirit while volunteering.
Ms Celes Kweng planned themed days twice a year to build spirit while volunteering.PHOTO: STANDARD CHARTERED BANK

SINGAPORE - Standard Chartered admin manager Celes Kweng has made good use of the three days of Employee Volunteering (EV) leave the bank offers since she joined the firm seven years ago.

She was the EV champion of her team from 2014 to 2018, planning themed days twice a year to build spirit while volunteering.

While Ms Kweng, the bank's business administration and office manager of group property, has since reduced her involvement in that role, she recalls the sense of leadership and satisfaction it gave her and continues to plan such days for the Singapore team.

No obstacle is too big, including working around different work schedules and finding venues that fit 40 to 60 people.

One of Ms Kweng's most memorable volunteering experiences was working with charity Willing Hearts Soup Kitchen, when about 80 of her colleagues started the day at 4.30am, washing and chopping vegetables, cooking in giant pots, packing hundreds of packets of food and delivering them to different parts of Singapore.

Differences in rank and status were forgotten amid the spirit of volunteerism, with senior executives getting their hands dirty and washing raw fish while other colleagues were soaked in sweat frying 100 or so eggs.

Ms Kweng said volunteering as a team helped build camaraderie among her colleagues as they worked towards a common goal in an informal setting and shared lasting memories.

Volunteering has also allowed her to meet people she would not normally have encountered, as colleagues across functions and departments are brought closer together.

Ms Kweng noted: "Most of us want to help those who are less fortunate than ourselves. We volunteer because we want to make a difference in the community."